Overview Of Undescended Testicle
An undescended testicle occurs when one or both testicles do not move into the scrotum before birth.
Testicles that do not descend into the scrotum are considered abnormal. An undescended testicle is more susceptible to cancer, even if it is brought into the scrotum with surgery.
Commonly Associated With
Retractile testes; Monorchism; Cryptorchidism; Empty scrotum – undescended testes; Vanished testes.
Causes Of Undescended Testicle
This condition happens more often in infants who are born early. Full-term infants do not often get undescended testicles.
Some babies have a condition called retractile testes where the health care provider may not be able to find the testicles.
In this instance, the testicle is pulled back out of the scrotum by a muscle reflex. Retractile testes occurs because the testicles are still small before puberty.
The testicles will descend normally at puberty and surgery will not be needed.
Symptoms Of Undescended Testicle
There are mostly no symptoms other than the absence of the testicle in the scrotum.
Exams & Tests
An exam by the provider will check to see if one or both of the testicles are absent. The provider will feel for the absent testicle in the abdominal wall above the scrotum.
Imaging tests, such as an ultrasound or CT scan, can also be used.
Treatment Of Undescended Testicle
The testicle will descend without treatment during the child’s first year in most cases
Treatment may include:
- Injecting hormones (B-HCG or testosterone) to bring the testicle into the scrotum.
- An orchiopexy, which is surgery to bring the testicle into the scrotum.
Early surgery can prevent infertility and may prevent damage to the testicles.
An undescended testicle found later in life may need to be removed because it could also pose a cancer risk. It is also unlikely to function well.
It also allows for an exam for the early detection of cancer. In some cases, no testicle may be found during surgery.
This may be due to a problem that occurred before birth when the baby was still developing.